All of us have the preferred workouts that we lean towards. For some it may be running, for others cycling and for still more, strength training. But did you know that the best results – whether for weight loss or muscle building – are achieved when different types of workouts are combined together? This trains your entire body.
One such workout that is immensely beneficial, but which doesn’t have many takers, is swimming. In this article, we explore a few reasons why you need to add swimming to your weekly workout routine and how it will benefit your health.
10 incredible physical and mental health benefits that swimming offers
Everyone knows that swimming is an excellent calorie burner. In fact, you can burn as much as 400 calories in one hour of moderately-paced swimming and a whopping 700 calories with an hour of fast-paced swimming.
But apart from this obvious weight loss and fat burning, swimming offers a host of other benefits to people. Here they are –
1) It boosts your cardiovascular system
Studies show that (depending on their age and health condition), people who swam regularly had between 49% and 53% lesser risk of experiencing fatal cardiovascular conditions. This is compared to people who walked or ran regularly. Swimming has also been found to reduce blood pressure considerably.
2) It helps the joints recuperate and strengthen
Individuals who are overweight or obese experience immense stress on their joints. Swimming has been found to reduce this stress considerably, allowing their joints to recuperate, regain strength and become more flexible. This stems from the natural buoyancy of water.
3) It offers much-needed flexibility and circulation for people with disabilities
Swimming is a non-contact sport that also does not put immense stress on the body to support its own weight and posture. The water allows individuals with disabilities to exercise in a low-impact way and retain their limited mobility, stop muscle wastage and support recovery.
4) It reduces high blood sugar
Research has shown that high-intensity intermittent swimming, done for short durations, can help people regulate their blood sugar levels. In particular, swimming reduces blood sugar in women who are pre-menopausal.
5) It improves lung capacity and reduces respiratory conditions
Certain swimming strokes require the swimmer to know how to breathe well with less air. With practice in the water, swimming can increase our lung capacity and make our lungs stronger and healthier. Some studies have shown that if the pool is indoors and does not use too many harsh disinfectants, the humid temperatures can alleviate asthma symptoms.
6) It can alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease with symptoms that continue to worsen with time. One of the symptoms of this condition is numbness, tremors, weakness and limited mobility in the limbs. This can make it difficult for patients to find safe and comfortable ways to work out. As a low-impact sport, swimming has been found to be particularly helpful in alleviating symptoms of multiple sclerosis, while also reducing feelings of depression and fatigue.
7) It helps the pregnant mother stay healthy
Pregnancy can cause mothers to gain weight and this weight gain can also add pressure on the mother’s joints. Swimming is a safe way to shed extra pounds, while also developing core strength and lower back strength – both of which can be tremendously helpful during labour.
8) It alleviates mood and makes us happy
Swimming is an aerobic exercise that has been found to improve mood and make people feel happier. In particular, a 2014 study of dementia patients indicated that regular swimming over a period of time helped stabilize their mood.
9) It helps eliminate stress-induced depression and anxiety
Since swimming has a positive impact on our mood, it can reduce the amount of stress we experience. This can in turn reduce our likelihood of developing symptoms of stress-induced anxiety and depression.
10) It reduces insomnia and regulates the sleep cycle
Swimming relaxes the tightly wound muscles in our body and also reduces our stress levels. Together, this can create a wonderful state of mental calm that alleviates insomnia and helps people get a good night’s sleep. This can in turn help people become more productive during the following day and make fewer mistakes.
How often should you swim?
Now that you know how helpful swimming really is, the question arises – how often do we swim to get these benefits? As with any exercise, overdoing swimming can lead to intense muscle pain and fatigue. Prolonged exposure to chlorinated water can also affect your skin, hair and eyes if you don’t follow the correct skin, eye and hair care routine.
That’s why it’s important to remember that your ideal weekly swimming schedule should be –
- Beginner to intermediate swimmers – 1 hour of moderately-paced swim, 2-3 times a week.
- Experienced swimmers – 1 hour of vigorous/fast-paced swim, 4-5 times a week.
Remember to apply body lotion to protect your skin. Use a swimming cap to keep your hair healthy. Wear swim goggles to avoid eye injury. Carry a bottle of water and drink regularly during the swim. Having a power bar can also help if you are doing a particularly vigorous workout.
Get your own pool installed at home and skip the public pool
It might be difficult to visit the local public pool for every swim session. Sometimes, the crowd at the pool may act as a deterrent for many of us who wish to make swimming an important part of our weekly plan.
If you resonate with this, consider getting a new zealand fibreglass pool installed at your home. The good news is that your new pool doesn’t have to be too massive and won’t take up a lot of space. Our team at Barrier Reef Pools NZ have over 30 years’ experience installing home pools of different dimensions, shapes and sizes, at properties with large and small back/front yards. We can install a home pool that’s well suited for your home and your lifestyle.
Now, you can start swimming any time you want and avoid the large crowds at the public pool. So, call us today to know more.